Buffalo teachers’ union calls on district to create potty training policy

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The Buffalo Teachers Federation is calling on Buffalo Public Schools to create a potty training policy.

The union says teachers are stepping away from class too often to change diapers. Often times, the task falls on the teacher aides.

The BTF and the union representing the teacher aides, The Buffalo Education Support Team, said it’s not in either of their contracts to change diapers.

BTF President Phil Rumore says he conducted a survey with teachers a few weeks ago. In the survey, teachers explained potty training issues were happening with children from 3-years-old to 4-years-old. Many teachers called the lack of training inconvenient, unsanitary and time consuming.

Rumore is calling on the school district to establish a policy.

“If an emergency occurs and there’s an accident, that’s one thing, but if a student comes to school they should come to school potty trained, there’s no excuse for that. The teacher or anybody really can’t take the time away from class to do this,” Rumore said.

The union representing teacher aides said they would take on the extra responsibility if aides were compensated for it and had the proper supplies.

Buffalo Public Schools issued a statement on the matter:

“We’re willing to continue to dialogue with the aides and their representation in the future to hear their concerns and see if we can find common ground,” Nathaniel J. Kuzma, general counsel for the school district said.

Under The State Education Department, guidelines for toilet training are already in place. Under the guidelines, children who are not potty trained cannot be excluded from pre-k or kindergarten. School districts also can’t add potty training as a condition of enrollment but they can, however, work with families on a toilet training plan.

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